Have you ever noticed how the skin tends to dry out and become flaky or itchy in winter? This is caused by dryer air and from temperature changes between indoor to outdoor (1). To fight dryness it is necessary to hydrate, exfoliate and use a richer skin care regime in order to prevent unwanted symptoms like a scaly nose or dry skin patches. Enzymatic peelings are the best way to promote the skin cells renewal process, thus to optimally prepare the skin for the warmer months.
But what are enzymes and what is their action? Enzymes are protein molecules that initiate or accelerate chemical reactions. Several types of enzymes exist, and some of them find applications in a variety of industries like for technical use, food manufacturing, cosmetics, R&D. Research particularly focused on their application in skin care from the end of the 90´s (2). Some examples of enzymes used in the cosmetic field include proteases in creams to peel off dead cells (3), or peroxidase to prevent cosmetic formulations from bacterial attack (2).
Enzymatic peelings are our alliates when our goal is to give back to the skin its natural glow: „they are an effective way to regenerate, resurface and refresh the skin“ (4). How? The skin consists of several layers, and the enzymes contained in the peeling (a compound often made of natural elements such as lactic, salycilic and alpha-hydroxy acids) act by breaking down the bounds (micorfilaments) that keep dead skins together on the outermost layer of the skin. Enzymes accelerate this process of deterioration of the filaments, so after their connections are broken, dead and damaged cells can then be shed away from the surface, thus revealing the new, brighter layer of skin underneath and accelerating new cell growth. Because of this, peels can help treating a variety of skin conditions ranging from dryness, rosacea to uneven pigmentation, and they are effective in revitalizing the skin that appears younger and fresher.
The new skin underneath the layer that is shed away by peelings is delicate, so UV rays could cause irritations and redness. This is the reason why winter is the best season for peels: the UV levels are lower, therefore allowing the skin to heal more quickly. Even during the cold season, it is important and recommended to wear a sunscreen protection with SPF50 after a peeling treatment in order to protect the new layer from the damaging action of sunrays.
(1) White-Chu, E. F., & Reddy, M. (2011). Dry skin in the elderly: complexities of a common problem, Clinics in dermatology, 29(1), 37-42
(2) Li, S., Yang, X., Yang, S., Zhu, M., & Wang, X. (2012). Technology prospecting on enzymes: application, marketing and engineering. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, 2(3), e201209017
(3) Cho SA, Cho JC, Han SH (2007) Cosmetic composition containing enzyme and amino acid. Amorepacific Corporation. No. 11/990,431
(4) Tsolos N. - skin therapist, in „How chemical peels can give you a glowing, healthy appearance in winter„ The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, www.thevictoriancosmeticinstitute.com.au, 22.06.2018